Laptop batteries?

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Re: Laptop batteries?

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Fri Mar 10, 2006 7:01 pm

Originally posted by OperaTenor:
... will .25 VDC make the difference(at 3 amps)?...
If that quarter volt is a quarter-volt RMS of noise, yes. It would make a big difference. If it's a quarter-volt of clean DC, probably not.

Smack the thing upside the power supply cover, attach a lemon, shake chicken bones, and then find a local electrogeek that needs piano repairs. Or something. You could mail it to barfle, but he has this laundry room thing going on. ;)
>^..^<
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Re: Laptop batteries?

Postby OperaTenor » Fri Mar 10, 2006 7:52 pm

Hi Shap,

Being a mechanic, of course I smacked it! "It" being both the computer and the charger................at least a couple of times.

Mechanic's rules:
1. If it it doesn't work, smack it with a hammer.
2. Use a bigger hammer.
3. A hammer is anything you can smack it with.

Selma, the lemon zapped me. :D
I like the barter idea.
If I mail it to Barfle, he'll most likely build shelves out of it.

I could send it to Tim, but he'd probably make a pen out of it........................but it would still work when he got done with it. ;)

I'd like to think I'm still in the process of spiraling down on it............like a vulture on roadkill.

:cool:

What's RMS? The reading of 19.75VDC doesn't flinch, FWIW.
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Re: Laptop batteries?

Postby analog » Sat Mar 11, 2006 2:18 am

Originally posted by OperaTenor:


I'd like to think I'm still in the process of spiraling down on it............like a vulture on roadkill.

:cool:

What's RMS? The reading of 19.75VDC doesn't flinch, FWIW.
As Selma said, 19.75 vs 19.5 volts DC sounds quite reasonable.

Put Mr Fluke on AC volts and read at the same spot - the reading should indicate something briefly and drift quickly toward zero - stopping at maybe a tenth of a volt or so. That's an approximate measure of the "noise" or ripple from your power supply. Two volts I think would be way too much noise.


What's RMS? RMS is a fudge factor that early electrogeeks invented for measuring AC voltages. RMS will tell you, for any arbitrary waveform (shape) AC voltage, what DC voltage would give you the same heating value. All AC voltmeters attempt to report the heating value, it's a tradition because that's what Edison and Westinghouse were selling - power.

For sinewaves, which is what we usually encounter because the electric company goes to great pains to deliver them, square root of two is the fudge factor. A sine shaped wave that attains a maximum value of 169.7 volts (called its peak) delivers the same heat as a DC voltage of [169.7/(sqrt(2)] or 120 volts. This is 120 VAC RMS, our old familiar housepower.

RMS stands for "Root of the Mean of the Squares".
To get it you do R-M-S backward - take all the instantaneous values of your arbitrary wave, first Square them, then average them (gives you the Mean of the squares), then take the square Root of that average. All AC voltmeters do some averaging. The newer "true RMS" meters actually calculate the correct fudge factor by performing the three steps of arithmetic above; older ones with built in fudge factor (my preference) assume they're measuring a sine wave so don't bother with the squaring and rooting.

Sorry for the essay.

Yes, the game is to gradualy tighten the spiral. My trouble is, like one scraggly old buzzard in the treetop says to the other - "Patience hell - let's go out and kill something!"
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Re: Laptop batteries?

Postby OperaTenor » Sat Mar 11, 2006 3:03 am

Hi Analog,

Thank you very much for the explanation. It helps a lot to understand that stuff.

The meter reading of VAC at the DC output did exactly as you described: Gave a small value then decreased to ~0, at which point it was hanging out at either .001 VAC or 0. From that, I gather the charger is not overly noisy, and therefore not the culprit?

Given that, we now know the battery's good, and the charger is good, and the inverter is new, so I think we can rule out actual power problems, and maybe I am looking at a bios/software glitch?

Does this mean it's time to format my hard drive? I'm not afraid........I've done it before(on the computer in question, no less)................really..................

rachafracha...

<small>[ 03-11-2006, 03:04 AM: Message edited by: OperaTenor ]</small>
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Re: Laptop batteries?

Postby analog » Sat Mar 11, 2006 5:30 pm

Originally posted by OperaTenor:
....Given that, we now know the battery's good, and the charger is good, and the inverter is new, so I think we can rule out actual power problems, and maybe I am looking at a bios/software glitch?

Does this mean it's time to format my hard drive? I'm not afraid........I've done it before(on the computer in question, no less)................really..................

rachafracha...
Well - I'm still awaiting my reformat wings. I am not at all skilled in Windows. You are waaaay ahead of me in the software department.

Your logic is straight. It certainly looks like a circle around the laptop would enclose the trouble. The power supply is clean by actual measurement. If it's the one provided with your machine and it's a 19 or 20 volt supply, then 19 or 20 volts is probably what the machine expects. However I'm mildly surprised that a laptop wouldn't expect 12 volts for use in a car. Can you verify by a user manual or marking at the power jack on computer?

Most machines go into setup mode if you hold down a certain key when the BEEP occurs at startup. I've seen Escape and various Function keys used on various brands. You can check and edit most of the bios settings from there if you can find which key to hold. Have you the manual? Look for Setup.

Next step is to tighten the circle again - software or hardware?

Now let's think - the program that ran last week ought to run this week. Windows 'Restore' function would let you try last week's software. If it's corrupted on disk there ought to be some checksum error or "file is corrupt" complaints, you haven't mentioned getting them. See what happens when you run scandisk from the dos prompt.

On reformatting - If the machine won't pass a memory test, it probably shouldn't be writing to system files. It might be prudent to run some self tests before reformatting.
My Dell book says to put the Resource CD in the CDROM drive, boot up , select START WITH CD-ROM SUPPORT and then run diags32. It'll ask what devices to test. However the latest OS it covers is NT. Have you a CD and manual that came with your XP machine? Try a search for files with names containing diag and .exe, look for a readme nearby.
My old 98 machine once healed itself from fatal disk corruption by booting up on a floppy then running scandisk from dos prompt. On that problem I got helpful advice by googling "How do i fix (my windows symptom).." there's sites devoted to 'shutters' troubles but looks like i didn't bookmark the one that helped me.

So - in summary:

1: Power supply looks good.
2: Windows troubles are beyond my level. If Scandisk won't fix it I re-install windows.
3: I'd suggest running the hardware diagnostics if you can locate them. Be sure to select the non-destructive disk test. At least run Scandisk.
4: Don't assume i know any more than you - I stumble around with these things, am simply too dumb to give up. "Folly is an endless maze - tangled roots perplex her ways..... " Wm Blake.

The computer has programs to check and report on its physical health, if we can just get them to run.

Rachfracha - is there a Windows doctor in the house?

Keep us posted, ol' buddy!
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Re: Laptop batteries?

Postby barfle » Sat Mar 11, 2006 6:58 pm

Not saying that it's not a bios glitch, but that seems unlikely since it does boot up somewhat. I'm leaning toward another hardware issue - maybe RAM, maybe a loose connection. But then, as a hardware guy, I'm used to looking for those sorts of things, usually with a scope.

<Hey, analog - let's see just how many wild geese we can get him to chase!>

I've never pulled a laptop apart, but I have a friend in Seattle who repairs them. I've always considered Sony to be a very good manufacturer, although I have no idea who actually puts anything together these days.
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Re: Laptop batteries?

Postby analog » Sat Mar 11, 2006 10:01 pm

Originally posted by barfle:
... I'm leaning toward another hardware issue - maybe RAM, maybe a loose connection. .... I'm used to looking for those sorts of things, usually with a scope.

<Hey, analog - let's see just how many wild geese we can get him to chase!>

That's a pretty likely call, I think, hardware trouble. Make it run its diagnostics all night long. He's got what sounds like an intermittent, and like you i'd guess a loose connector or unseated IC somewhere. I'd hoped for power supply noise 'cause it's so easy. Pretty common, too.

I always begin with pokes on things looking for unseated memory sticks, half inserted connectors, broke wires, dead bugs on circuit tracks and the like. I'd say that finds a third of all troubles without having to get analytical. But the machine's gotta be open and it's a doggone laptop, so i suspect getting at it is like opening Brazil nuts.

This machine of mine once got to where it would run only a few minutes at a time. Diagnostic reported random memory errors. Upon looking i found the cpu chip had fuzzy black dirt piled around its pins. The little cooling fan on top of the IC had over time really packed the dirt in there, and removing the furballs with a soft brush got me going again. Crude but effective.

Barfle - would he do that to us? ;)
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Re: Laptop batteries?

Postby OperaTenor » Sun Mar 12, 2006 2:36 am

Hi Guys,

Thanks for all the more info and brainstorming.

I've accessed setup and checked the settings, and I've run checkdisk. Couldn't find anything suspicious-looking in the setup, and checkdisk came up with no errors.

This is the closest thing I get to a behavior pattern from this thing: If I leave alone for a period of several hours after letting it get fully charged upand then disconnecting the charger, it will come all the way up and run for anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour, and then just blink out, with no sign of operation except for fan noise. After manually shutting it all the way down, it might restart again and run for a few minutes tops. After that, upon succeeding attempts to restart it, it only begins to start up - fan noise, no power to the display, no disk activity. Sometimes, it will just begin to start up, then shut itself down, other times it will perpetually run at the level that the fan is running, no power to the display and no disk activity, at this point in the "pattern".

When I had it open, I didn't look at the fan itself to see if it was dirty, and I didn't see any other components with cooling fins to be clogged, etc.

Perhaps I should crack it open again, this time looking for ghost turds and loose connectors?

My gut tells me it is still hardware related. Most likely some widget overheating, either due to dirt or fatigue.

Oh yeah, just to make matters a little more complicated, no owner's manual, plus, this computer originally came with Windows Me, and I formatted the hard drive and started over with XP Home.

(Did I just a hear a goose honk?!)

;)

<small>[ 03-12-2006, 02:39 AM: Message edited by: OperaTenor ]</small>
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Re: Laptop batteries?

Postby Trumpetmaster » Sun Mar 12, 2006 6:26 am

OT

We have a Vaio Desktop... (it will be our last Vaio as it is quirky)

I seem to remember Vaio has a help email you can send questions to.

Is it possible the new battery is bad?
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Re: Laptop batteries?

Postby barfle » Sun Mar 12, 2006 12:38 pm

The idea of running for 20 minutes after a long period of nothing but charging sounds like one of two things - a crappy battery (measure the DC voltage on it when it's charged and when it dies - if it's more than a volt or so down, try another battery) or a thermal condition.

I don't know about your machine, but I know that some have themal reporting diagnostics available. My mother board's bios will tell you the temperatures in the CPU, and it came with a CD that reports the temperatures (and fan status) through an icon on the tray. Very cool, unless something overheats.
:D

The fact that you have a fan means it's moving air (and dust, no insult intended to your housekeeper) through the box, and dust WILL collect, so if you're up to opening it up again, a can of compressed air and a static-free brush could be useful tools.

I had to open my PC last week to move some cables around and read some 5-1/4" floppies for a friend, and decided to blow out the cabinet. Shoulda had a dust mask on - yeepers! Of course, the computer is in the room right next to the laundry room formerly known as the drywall construction zone.
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Re: Laptop batteries?

Postby analog » Sun Mar 12, 2006 8:33 pm

[quote]Originally posted by OperaTenor:
[b] Hi Guys,


I've accessed setup and checked the settings, and I've run checkdisk. Couldn't find anything suspicious-looking in the setup, and checkdisk came up with no errors.





Perhaps I should crack it open again, this time looking for ghost turds and loose connectors?

My gut tells me it is still hardware related. Most likely some widget overheating, either due to dirt or fatigue.

Oh yeah, just to make matters a little more complicated, no owner's manual, plus, this computer originally came with Windows Me, and I formatted the hard drive and started over with XP Home.

(Did I just a hear a goose honk?!)

:)
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Re: Laptop batteries?

Postby OperaTenor » Mon Mar 13, 2006 1:34 am

Thank you for the kind compliment. :)
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Re: Laptop batteries?

Postby OperaTenor » Mon Mar 13, 2006 1:38 am

Oh, and another thing: I didn't see anything that looked like test connections on the motherboard, but then I might not recognize them for what they are.

Also, the way components are integrated(i.e., the keyboard, cursor pad, etc.), I don't see any way to operate it filleted.

<small>[ 03-13-2006, 01:40 AM: Message edited by: OperaTenor ]</small>
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Re: Laptop batteries?

Postby barfle » Mon Mar 13, 2006 7:37 am

A clean fan? Does it move air?
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Re: Laptop batteries?

Postby OperaTenor » Mon Mar 13, 2006 9:43 am

Originally posted by barfle:
A clean fan? Does it move air?
Yes, it does. There is a discharge grate at the back of the computer for this duct, and a decent volume of air comes out when it's running.

I was so mystified by finding a clean fan I even looked for some kind of intake filter - none to be found.
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Re: Laptop batteries?

Postby barfle » Mon Mar 13, 2006 1:35 pm

This idea of a clean fan has me bugged, although it appears to be an exhaust fan.

For air to get out, air has to get in, and somewhere along that path, dust is going to collect, unless you consistently operate it under clean room conditions. The fact that there doesn't seem to be any dust implies that there isn't any ventilation, which certainly could cause a thermal problem.

Don't know that this is the real issue, but from what you've told me so far, it seems a likely culprit.
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Re: Laptop batteries?

Postby OperaTenor » Mon Mar 13, 2006 3:16 pm

It does seem wrong. I found no dust anywhere inside the computer, but a fair amount of air does indeed come out the discharge.

:confused:
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Re: Laptop batteries?

Postby barfle » Mon Mar 13, 2006 3:47 pm

The trick now seems to be to figure out where the air is coming from, in contrast to where it should be coming from.
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Re: Laptop batteries?

Postby OperaTenor » Mon Mar 13, 2006 4:50 pm

Been there, scoped it out.

The fan takes its suction inside the computer. It is mounted such that the suction side is suspended ~3/16" above the motherboard, so the entire interior of the computer is like an intake plenum. That being the case, air is supplied through every crack and opening in the case of the computer, along with the floppy and CD drives and docking ports.

Still doesn't explain the absence of dust or ghost turds.
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Re: Laptop batteries?

Postby analog » Mon Mar 13, 2006 6:41 pm

Holy Cow!!! I count at least twelve integrated circuits on that battery board. I need a jolt like that occasionally to awaken me to how obsolete i've become.

Yes, it's about time to put the dust back in and call for artillery.

Gotta run now, back later -- Keep us posted -
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